German Tax Authorities Investigate Suspicious Tax Deals

UBS, Frankfurt

UBS, Frankfurt

The tax authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia last year received information that more than 100 financial services companies were involved in suspicious tax return deals. The list of companies contains prominent names.

The finance ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia in September 2015 acquired a set of data for 5 million euros. The content of the stick seems to have been potentially lucrative for the state, according to a report by «Handelsblatt» (pay-per-read).

According to the evidence on the USB, some 129 financial services companies used so-called cum-ex-deals, claiming reimbursements of capital gains taxes more than once. The seller of the information reportedly told the tax inspectors where to find the evidence they would need to prove the trick had been applied.

The list of companies contains prominent names: Deutsche Bank, Barclays, BNB Paribas, Goldman Sachs – and Switzerland's UBS, «Handelsblatt» said.

Bonanza for Tax Authority

According to the claim, the institutions completed cum-ex-deals from 2007 to 2012, generating gains to the detriment of German taxpayers. The informer has told the tax inspectors that they will be able to charge an additional 700 million euros in taxes thanks to his information.

North Rhine-Westphalia has already generated about 2 billion euros thanks to data purchased from informers. The sellers of the data have usually stolen the information bought later by the tax authorities.

Bad Timing for UBS

UBS won't like being linked to tax trickery, having worked hard to return to profit in Germany after a loss in 2014. The biggest Swiss bank was forced to pay a 300-million-euro fine in 2014 on grounds of having helped German citizens to avoid paying taxes.

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